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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

Paradise found: films to check out before you check in this Eid

With the Eid holiday on the horizon and passports at the ready, we pick some films to help to get you in the mood

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach. Alamy Stock Photo
Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach. Alamy Stock Photo

With Eid rapidly approaching, our minds start to turn to travel. If you can’t wait to get on that plane though, why not prepare yourself for your upcoming trip with a movie? We’ve picked out some films set in popular summer break destinations so why not check them out before you go and use them to start writing your checklist of what to do when you get there?

The Trip (Michael Winterbottom, 2010)

England’s Lake District is a much-loved destination for walkers, with picturesque lakes, rolling green hills and pretty towns offering quaint country pubs, tea rooms, historic hotels and inns. Michael Winterbottom’s film stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as exaggerated versions of themselves, undertaking a culinary tour of the region for Coogan’s newspaper column. The pair eat and joke their way around a series of restaurants, constantly trying to outdo each other with their gags and impressions – especially when there are women around. The duo have also appeared in two sequels, The Trip to Italy and The Trip to Spain, so when you’ve followed in their footsteps round the restaurants of Northern England, you can do the same thing on mainland Europe too.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (John Madden, 2001)

The Greek Islands are always popular with those seeking a relaxing summer break in one of Europe’s cheaper destinations, and few offer more breathtaking scenery than the island of Cephalonia. This film stars Nicholas Cage as Captain Antonio Corelli, an Italian officer on the island during its occupation in the Second World War, and Penélope Cruz as the local object of his desire. The course of true love rarely runs smooth, however. After the Italians’ surrender to the Allies, their erstwhile German allies massacre Italian troops as traitors, while a huge earthquake after the war also seeks to derail the budding romance.

Notting Hill (Roger Michell, 1999)

London remains an endearingly popular destination for those seeking a break from the summer heat, as well as expats returning home for the holidays. We could have picked any number of films set in the city, but we’ve steered clear of the numerous gangster flicks and gritty dramas to keep things light with this ubiquitously British, Richard Curtis-penned romantic comedy. Hugh Grant is cast to type as bumbling bookseller Will Thacker, who unexpectedly finds himself romantically entwined with Julia Roberts’s Hollywood superstar Anna Scott. True to the romcom formula, there are ups and downs, tears and laughs, and unwanted exes to contend with before we get to the 'will they/won’t they live happily ever?' finale. The movie became the highest grossing British film of its time and was nominated for three Bafta awards, picking up the Audience Award for most popular film.

The Beach (Danny Boyle, 2000)

With its miles of sandy beaches, low cost of living and reputation for partying, Thailand is another favourite of the summer break crowd. Boyle’s adaption of Alex Garland’s novel sees Leonardo DiCaprio as backpacker Richard, who is seeking, and finds, a fabled isolated island community. Paradise, it transpires, is not all it seems however, and things soon start to fall apart for Richard and the island’s assorted hippies. The film was originally due to star Ewan McGregor, but Boyle was offered a higher budget to recast DiCaprio and make the lead character American, causing a rift that would not be fully healed until Boyle and McGregor reunited this year for T2 Trainspotting.

Moulin Rouge! (Baz Luhrmann, 2001)

Baz Luhrmann’s lavish musical is set in the tourist hotspot of Montmartre, Paris, home to the famous Moulin Rouge. Ewan McGregor’s young poet and writer Christian and Nicole Kidman’s actress and dancer Satine provide the love interest in this romantic tragedy set among the assorted artists and bohemians of the quarter at the turn of the last century. The movie’s bombastic soundtrack, epic dance numbers and elaborate sets and costumes helped it to pick up eight Oscar nominations, winning two for Best Art Direction and Costume Design. It was also the first musical in 10 years to be nominated for Best Picture, following 1991’s Beauty and the Beast.

Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)

There is no shortage of films set in New York, and Times Square must surely rank as probably the most used location in movie history, but we can only choose one, so we’ve gone for Martin Scorsese’s 1976 classic Taxi Driver. Robert De Niro is Travis Bickle, a mentally unstable former marine who drives a taxi round the city at night on account of his insomnia. As he becomes increasingly exposed to the city’s dark underbelly, his mind becomes more fragmented and he sets out on a one-man vigilante mission to clean up the streets. The movie picked up four Oscar nominations, and won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. It was ranked as the Fifth Greatest Film ever made in Sight & Sound magazine's most recent (2012) decennial Directors’ poll.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Woody Allen, 2008)

Woody Allen’s Barcelona-set romantic comedy/drama won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture (2009) and a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Penelope Cruz. Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) are spending the summer in Barcelona, where they both develop strong feelings for successful artist Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem). With Antonio’s suicidal ex-wife (Cruz) also in the mix romantically, it’s no surprise that a legacy of romance, betrayal and heartbreak follows as the quartet struggle to establish the ground rules of their developing relationships.